Former Nazi official turned Soviet socialist operative helped broker arms deals for Cuba’s Fidel Castro

Nazi Soviet operative Otto-Ernst Remer and Cuban communist dictator Fidel Castro

American socialists spend a lot of time and put a lot of effort into distancing themselves from the German Nazi party. Although the term Nazi actually stands for the Nationalist Socialist Party, which espoused many socialist policies, American socialists say it was a far-right movement and has nothing to do with them. History tells a much different story, but we all know the very tenuous relationship the left and socialists have with history.

For some former officials of the Nazi party, however, the leap from Nazi to socialist did not seem all that great. In fact, it looked like nothing more than a name change.

As John Suarez writes in Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter, one former Nazi official turned into a Soviet operative in Germany and helped Cuba’s communist dictator Fidel Castro buy arms:

However, what remains disturbing is that the man who broke up the conspiracy [to assassinate Hitler] Otto-Ernst Remer (18 August 1912 – 4 October 1997) would go on to play a big role in post-Nazi Germany. Captured by the United States, he remained a prisoner of war until 1947. Following his release, he obtained funding from the Soviet Union and established the Socialist Reich Party in 1950 that worked with the Communist Party of Germany.  Campaign themes of the Socialist Reich Party included that the Holocaust was an allied propaganda invention, it accused the United States of building fake gas chambers and producing fake news-film footage about concentration camps, that the politics of the Allied-powers created West German state were merely a front for American domination, and that West Germany’s puppet status of the United States should be opposed. 

The Socialist Reich Party was banned in 1952 and Otto-Ernst Remer fled to Egypt. He served as an advisor to Gamal Abdel Nasser, and worked with other Germans assisting Arab states with the development of their armed forces. He often met with Johannes von Leers. It is worth providing some background on von Leers.

Johannes von Leers had been Waffen SS in Nazi Germany, was also a professor known for his anti-Jewish polemics, and was an important ideologue of the Third Reich, serving as a high-ranking propaganda ministry official. He would offer these services to Nasser at the Egyptian Information Department and serve the Egyptian leader as an advisor. He also provided publishing services in Peron’s Argentina. Johannes von Leers converted to Islam, took the name Omar Amin, and died in Egypt at age 63 in 1965. 

In the early 1960s Otto-Ernst Remer had contacts with and assisted Fidel Castro in Cuba with the purchase of weapons.

Amazing what you learn from history. Socialists should try it some time.

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